Friday, October 27, 2006
The Klaxons - Magick
(oh look dayglow stuff spurting outa their eyes)
The Horrors - Count in Fives
All is Love - Make Out Fall Out Make Up
Guess i should stop watching MTV2 now
before the Muse virus takes hold...
Organum - Volume One on Robot Records
Right from the first track ,a vision of a desolate play park comes to mind. Ancient swings and other mechanical apparatus move in a slow teasing cacophony. The rub of metal against metal like a memory of usage replayed under a veil of darkness, un-nerving textures echoing phantom-like. A writhing symphony of metal where tune is deconstructed into squeaks of unravelling abrasion served up on a bed of monochrome drone - this is serious aesthetic searching, and typical (for the most part) of Organum's unique approach to music.
Apparently this sound world stemmed from David Jackman's (Organum's king pin) childhood fascination with the noise of squealing train brakes. The high end pitch worming on this disc is certainly evidence of this. Starting with the resurrection of the 'Tower of Silence' EP of 1985, originally released on the impossible to find and now defunct LAYLAH imprint. ( I only own one Laylah anti-records release, bet you can’t guess which one?) This track documents the simple sound of a clock casing being scraped around a rusty bicycle wheel alongside other metallic bric a brac. The resulting sound is somehow removed from its ingredients, a strange disembodiment that produces a slowing of the linear and a glimmer of something un-quantifiable. Maybe it's in the sound overlay or just the way dense textures always bring forth unrealised patterns but their unquestionable pull can't be denied. What's also surprising is that each of these four tracks bring with them uniquely different atmospheres for something made from essentially the same sound base.
'Voice of the angel' with it's metal fatigue dialogue and slow clicking back rhythm is a favourite but this is easily eclipsed by the next track - the 17min 'Rasa' taken from the B side of a split LP that was shared by Nurse with Wound . Here human vocals, like pressurised gas, release sibilant hisses through a deliciously muted metal carnage and gnostic moan backdrop ...fantastically macabre.
The last two tracks are more violently noisy than the drone soundscapes of previous, but still are hugely enjoyable with the very last track raising the stakes in crashing claustrophobia.
Released on a small Reykjavik label and featuring the godfather of the Icelandic avant-garde - Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson (or HOH for short) as honorary group member and co-producer, this is a perfect example of early 90's Darkwave/Industrial.
Admittedly, it's not as dark as the first Techno-Animal album (Ghosts) but it still holds it's own among the canons of the genre, especially for an industrial junkie like myself. There's even someone playing chairs if you believe the sleeve notes.
The opener 'Snakes' sounds like it's a forgotten track off Godflesh's monumental 'Streetcleaner' album. The lyrics are guttural, like the result of steroid overload, hog-tied to solid drums, throbbing bassline and noise accompaniment. I especially love the sample of the car burning up the tarmac, that skids in and out of the track - adding to the drama.
'Sluice' is a slow, backward sludge with gorgeously ugly keyboards, to which the economical lyrics 'Your fingers have been smashed', are repeatedly intoned. Strangely the song breaks structure in favour of a short electronic sketch that flips energetically around all too briefly before dying away.
Full of slow-mo percussion '808' is like a battery-powered gamalan in need of recharging, punctuated by samples and definitely built up like an inverted pyramid. Very distorted sea bird recordings, scraped strings, ghostly guitar impressions and the odd bit of reversing truly churn it all up in an extremely captivating way.
The cinematic vision on 'Pirate Paradise' is tensely built - brooding strings that mingle with a military snare skating across elastic drums and overdriven guitars filling in the gaps. The vocals sound similar to a disaffected Marc Almond circa 'Mambas' but more drained and full of evil intention. The lyrics suggest paradise is a parasitic existence, drawing interesting parallel to the insect halftone blowups on the album cover. The track ends beautifully with fragmented drum pattern and guitar stab squalor.
Having a lot of similarities with the more sprightly side to The Shock-Headed Peters, 'Call Me Jesus' sounds like a Karl Blake guitar-fest. Dextrous fingers all over the fret board producing some very satisfying audio shapes indeed over shouted lyrics. 'Call me Jesus....take my breathe away', he screams.
The oriental sounding 'Ointment' is a heavy percussive based workout, lasting for the majority of the second side. Ghostly horns, woodwind and other pagan like audio references litter the track. Throat and bird screeches cut through the denseness, I swear I can hear a chair or two being rhythmically beaten.
But all good things must come to an end and after the 11ish mins of the pervious track the electro punk of 'Washington' closes the album all too quickly...
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Not bad for £1.99, the complete works plus diaries, all the stuff that was supposed to be consumed by fire. The paper’s thinner than a communion wafer but the binding's a lush piece of work, that skinny san-serif inset in faux red leather, simply too gorgeous to leave on the shelves.
Funny but I can’t seem to recall any music inspired by Kafka although I thought Nick Cave’s 'Saint Huck' had one reference, but that was just my ears playing tricks on me...
Fancy watching the recent theatre production of Metamorphosis though, looks kinda intriguing and would love to hear what Cave and Warren have done sound-wise, just imagining all those scurrying insect feet...
Posted by Cloudboy at Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Following on from Liquid Pig this new offering is musically quieter, more subdued with less sonic flourishes than its predecessor. This characteristic stripping away (something that’s been in evidence since Slide) makes a great platform for that gorgeously dispassionate voice combined with her pertinent piano accompaniment, to achieve an emotional honesty that is paradoxically uplifting.
At first, lyrically her references are less oblique than previous works but the personal subject matter continues to flow unhindered, just not as fiery as on previous outings more like resigned unhappiness I suppose.
Mostly made up of beautiful piano led songs about a yearning to feel ok but never quite getting there, like on the opener The Day, where she intones ‘…like you’re running from your laughter’.
The tunes have a real ‘music box’ sensibility, delicate cobwebs that glisten with her melancholy, holding those disheartened lyrics together with a childlike optimism that seems to be dashed on every second line. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a morose album, full of doom and despair but one full of the warmth, describing the inconsistency of what it’s like to be human below those chocolate box smiles society sometimes forces us to accept, with an universal truth of feeling everyone could relate to however small.
Golden Cities and Into Oblivion have a real fairytale quality with a clockwork aesthetic of a tin carousel. They impart a cosy internalising of feeling which lends to you actually feeling like you’ve been invited into her head. The Johnny Marr textures at the end of Into Oblivion are simply exquisite, twisting round like creeping ivy.
Just when you think you have a handle on the album she throws you off guard by inserting the creepy In the Land of the Fairies. With slightly out of tune keys that you could imagine playing themselves, a vision of Lisa comes across like a spoilt child absent mindedly ripping the limbs off insects. A song with a real vision of mental instability ‘Who was that stupid ogre messing with my head’, she intones. Her vocals are multi tracked on verse two imparting a scary bi-polar vibe that isn’t softened by the dampened enthusiasm of her voice.
In the Maybe World is a lovely, slightly up beat song, her vocals melding to form emotional tags to the words, her vocals rising on the words ‘let the bird fly’. Apparently this song’s based around the bird offerings she received from her cats. “In the shiver in the freaking out see the live ones see ‘em taking off” she sings in a snaking of narcotic like breaths.
Red Thread is simply excellent with its wildly singable chorus of
‘Go to hell------------------ Fuck you’. With the contradictory nature of love, longing – captured in the last words ‘l love you, I love you too’
A Seed is a song about love, the lack of permanence of relationships or the self-destruction that such susceptibility lends to. ‘Keep it in a box and hold it close, suffocate the bits you needed most’ she sings and continues with ‘all this tired love just couldn’t flow’ like disappointment is always face-up.
The album ends on a happier note with a jiggley tune that has a piano that seems to skip down the road almost absent mindedly. A few darkened clouds float by but otherwise everything seems rosy, then you listen to the words and you’re not too sure… something that Lisa excels at and one of the reasons I have plenty of time for her music.
I’m so looking forward to seeing her this November as it’s been over 10 years since I saw her last in Camden’s Dingwalls, touring the Love Circus release (if I remember rightly). Also be sure to check out her recent show over at the 'Spinning On Air' archive, as it’s got lots of interesting background info to the making of, plus it's a great audio showcase for this new offering.
Posted by Cloudboy at Thursday, October 12, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Trees floating backwards in perpetual collapse.
Alabaster fingers sprout through soil, gathered tight-skinned pinheaded heralds. Fragile time holders, nibbling at the darkness.
The acorn cups clustered as speakers
Desiccated roots, a field of slaughter
Plastic, pelvic, mud-encrusted
Reminiscent of half buried bunnies
The leaves speak, a plough rutted tongue spiking consciousness flooding forth in sinewy beauty.
Dilated veins, a fountain of colour like mirrored columns.
Taut, motionless yet swaying.
Profundity and simplicity intertwined, like sugar in a hurricane...
Posted by Cloudboy at Tuesday, October 10, 2006